Living in the world we do it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the misery and hardships around us. It is very easy to become a victim of misery and get comfortable in that particular little box.

However, if we look around I am betting there is not one of us that cannot find plenty of things in our lives that are special, that are blessings and that can sustain us and even give us great joy on a daily basis.

I have written quite often about the heartache that sickness brings into the lives of my parents but I tend to forget that yes God brings hardship but He brings just as much joy, happiness and hope.  How come it is the hardships and heartaches I tend to dwell on. How come my prayers are filled with the details of the dark moments of life and just a small blip of the joy He brings to me? 

I guess it probably has to do with me not being strong enough alone to handle the heartaches and asking with a genuine need to help me to get through the tough stuff. However, God has brought so many blessings into my life that I need to take a moment and dwell there, in thanksgiving.

Two of my boys surprised me when I went to NE and showed up for a visit too. I cannot tell you the joy and singing my heart did when I pull into the motel and I am greeted by Lucas and Kelsey waving and grinning, knowing they succeeded in totally surprising their Mother! I will remember this visit forever because God made it special for me. I cannot tell you of the joy that I got when my nephew Ryan called to make sure I was still in NE and I was the first stop he made when He got to town. Having Ryan, Kelsey and Lucas to myself for an hour when we all got to Imperial was pure joy and happiness was written all over my heart. I am not sure the people in the adjoining rooms shared my enthusiasm for the impromptu late night family gathering at the motel, but it warmed this Mom’s heart.  Sharing a supper meal for the first time in years with my sister, Logan, Gordon, Lucas and Kelsey all together was amazing (the food was pretty good too) Seeing Logan wearing a UW hat instead of his usual Nebraska Cornhuskers hat was priceless!

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If I would just take a minute to reflect on the good as well as the bad I would see that God has given me new people in my life that have brought meaning and depth, He has opened new doors, provided necessary supplies at work (in a bigger way than you can imagine). It is easier to find peace in the imperfections of my life when I also find thanksgiving for the abundance of joy He provides at the same time.

 

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We all have blessings if we choose to see them!

Is there anything good in Alzheimers?

Another visit to Imperial is for all intents and purposes over, except the drive home. There were no surprises, I found Dad as I expected to, and I found Mom as I expected to. In fact, from all appearances it seemed that they had adjusted as much as possible to life with Alzheimer’s.
I am sitting here in my motel room thinking about 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Proverbs 3:5 and wondering why God brought me to those particular versus tonight and what in the world they have to do with what is going on.
I am coming to the realization that maybe I am looking at this situation in the wrong way, or more to the point, maybe there is a less painful way to look at this situation.
God promises times of testing and tribulation and that despite what it feels like, we aren’t the only ones who have gone through whatever it is we are facing. He also assures me that we won’t be tested above what we are able to handle and that He will always offer us a way out and He will never leave us.
Well……………..those words don’t seem to fit with what I am feeling tonight and if God always offers a way out why don’t I see it?
This brings me to my original point, looking at this in a different light. To see the options when God offers us them, we have to want to see them. What if the only option I see isn’t the option I want? Does that option then become a non-option? I want what I want, what I want, unfortunately that option does not seem to be available.
I think I need to look at this in a completely different light. God tells me He won’t ever desert me and to trust Him with my whole heart and don’t lean on my own understanding.
The thing is, that is His message to my Alzheimer ridden father also.
So Dad, let’s trust God on this one.
On the outside it may appear that you are suffering, but you are clean, you are safe and you have enough women nursing assistants caring for you to make any man jealous. I doubt you are aware of the full extent of your disease, in fact most of the time you seem quite content. It would seem that most of the suffering at this point of your disease, falls to those of us who love you and we can make a conscious choice to simply “trust God and lean not on our own understanding”.
Although I do not understand, I choose to trust, it hurts less that way. Funny, I think that may be how it is supposed to work.
Dottie
……………………and so I rideImage

Things are no longer as they once were

I love to go to Nebraska, I grew up there and it will always be home. It will always be the quiet, small town where you can leave your doors and cars unlocked. It will always be the small town where you can take long walks after dark and not be afraid. It will always be the small town where dining in the local restaurant means a night of conversations with people you have known many years.

As much as things stay the same however, time does march on and mostly, people change. Faces are more weathered and wrinkled, hair is greyer, and waists are thicker. Old buildings are gone and new ones take their place. Those are the things you expect and accept as a normal part of life. Those are the easy things.

However as I am getting ready to venture back to my hometown this morning I know that there are things that will greet me that will bring great pain. Things that will greet me that make me cry for the past that no matter what it looks like, no longer exists.

When Alzheimer’s enters a family lives are altered forever. Unlike the old buildings in town that were torn down and replaced with new, Alzheimer’s has to run its destructive course, there is no amount of rebuilding and remodeling that can be done. The life slowly leaves the building and finally it crumbles taking all that the building once was with it.

However I won’t let that ugly disease keep me from the man who might not remember it, but will always be my Dad. His strength and wisdom might not be visible anywhere but in memory anymore, but He is still Dad. I will go to Nebraska, I will find delight in the things I remember that still are and I will love as much as always, the things that are no longer as they once were.

Dottie

…………….and so I ride

Sometimes life is just…………………..random!

My random thoughts for the day! I love to read so I pick bits and pieces up here and there and this is just some randomness that caught my attention. Some days are like that, random!

For those of you who are a “couple”

C- Closeness (Genesis 2:24)

O- Openness (Colossians 3:19)

U- Understanding (1 Peter 3:7)

P- Peacemaking (Matthew 19:5)

L- Loyalty (Malachi 2:14)

E- Esteem (1 peter 3:7)

Dr Emerson Eggerichs

 

“We cannot blame God for the bad things we let into our lives”

 

“Live your dreams not your fears”

 

“Learning to rely on God’s power is the only sure way to lasting change”

 

“Stop obsessing about what’s wrong with you and start building on what’s right”

 

“The world we see around us is the world we are creating”

 

From Dr’s Cloud and Townsend………………..1. When I fail, I will learn from it and move on. 2. Blame will not get me where I want to go, Ownership will get me there. 3. When I take  responsibility for my problems, I am in charge.

 

When you are backed into a corner and think you have no choice…………….remember, YOU DO!

 

“Failure is the beginning of education”

Ten names of God

Jehovah Rapha- The God Who Heals

El Roiy- The God Who Sees Me

Jehovah Jirah- The Lord Who Provides

El Shadai- The Sufficient One

Jehovah Nissi- The Lord Of Protection

Jehovah Oz- The Lord Of My Strength

Adonai- The Sovereign Lord God

Jehovah Shammah- The Lord Is There

Jehovah Shalom- Our Perfect Peace

Jehovah Raah- The Lord My Shepard

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In closing I say that some days are like this, just random. However one thing does not change and one thing I will never forget. I will BELIEVE THE TRUTH. “Flowers and grass fade away but what our God has said will never change. Isaiah 40:8

Dottie

…………..and so I ride

Take responsibility for your life!

There are those who take responsibility for their lives and their decisions and there are those who do not. I am looking inside this morning and trying to decide which I am. However even more than that I want to come to the decision that no matter what I find, it is in my power to change it.

Galatians 6:5 says that we each have to bear our own load and Proverbs 28:13 says that if we conceal our transgressions we won’t prosper.

It seems we need to buck up and admit where we have been wrong, where we have been straddling the fence and where we have been blaming others and take ownership of our lives.

The way we duck, dodge and weave around them you would think that responsibilities are a rare thing but they aren’t, responsibilities are something we all have, and that we have daily. It would seem as with anything we get a lot of practice doing we would be very good at living up to our responsibilities, unfortunately, that isn’t always true. OUCH.

I think I will try to look at responsibility in a positive light instead of as something to avoid. Responsibility can mean liberty, freedom and power. It can mean self-respect and satisfaction. I love what George O’Neil says, “When we have begun to take charge of our lives, to own ourselves, there is no longer any need to ask permission of someone.”

Instead of standing in our own way we are willing to forge ahead with a new boldness and the best part, when we make mistakes, we have the courage to admit it with dignity and grace and try again.

I don’t want to look back over my life and be ashamed by what I see.

I guess the bottom line is I am a follower of Jesus Christ and that sets me apart. I have a higher calling and that is enough to give me pause and consider my conduct at each turn.

It might be much easier to point the finger of blame at someone else when things do not go well, but it certainly doesn’t not seem profitable.

I think today is the day I take responsibility for my life!

Dottie

…………and so I ride

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Cleaning Up

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was visiting my Grandparents and we needed to make a quick trip to the store for some bread. It would take us ten minutes tops to be there and back home, but my Grandma had to change her dress, change her shoes and put lipstick on. Heaven forbid if someone saw us in our everyday work clothes and not all spiffed up. In other words, heaven forbid if someone saw us for who we really were instead of who we wanted them to think we were.

I think that is hard for a lot of people. I think it applies to a lot of people where Jesus is concerned also. I have heard friends say to me that they knew they were going to hell so why pretend differently, a lot of people think they have to clean up their act before they can come to Jesus.

That’s a hard one for me to address with people, my first reaction tends to be “are you nuts, why do you think He died for you? Don’t you realize He died long before you walked this earth?” But the little filter widget on my shoulder is whispering “idle down there hot rod, simply explain it to them”

Jesus doesn’t say go get your good clothes on then we will talk. He says, 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

We don’t hear, clean the house, do the dishes and make sure you clean out all the closets and sweep the corners, and for goodness sake don’t sweep the dirt under the rug.  God says He shows His love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

We don’t hear “Let’s hang out after the spring cleaning is done”, we hear that the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. Luke 19:10

I love that He meets us where we are, no matter the condition we are in. It is an invitation to all that need Him, it is a welcome home without conditions. However, we must always remember that God is, Lord of Heaven and Earth, He is the Holy of Holies and the Great “I am”, and as such, reverence and respect is always expected.

However, once home He begins to refresh and change us as we submit in obedience and love. He changes us so that we can show others that “come on in and make yourself at home, means just that”. Don’t be afraid of tracking up the floor, just come in, as the saying goes, He leaves the light on

Dottie.

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Oh the Idols we serve!

In struggling with an issue that is constant in my life I found true wisdom this morning in a statement I read by Jessica Howell. She said, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”  Now this can refer to a lot of things in our lives but for me, this morning it refers to a specific topic. I know this topic is something I am dealing with but it is certainly not specific to me.

You should see me this morning, I am sitting here with (and I am not kidding), 8 diet and exercise books on my lap trying to get some kind of motivation and control over this irrational control that food has over me and the never ending quest to find the right diet and exercise plan. You would think that with two magazines in my hands sporting gorgeous women in tiny shorts and more diet and exercise hints than humanly possible to read and six books explaining how to find God’s path, how to become myself, how to become mean and lean in 90 days, how to find the spark to lose weight and transform my life and how to become successful by thinking differently, well you would think I would be rich, thin and wise beyond words!

I think of the way the world in general looks at food. Virtually every single thing we celebrate we do it with food. No birthday goes by without birthday cake, holidays are marked by the feasts we prepare to celebrate them, and football would not be the game it is without tailgate parties. If we celebrate we do it with food, if we grieve we do it with food, heck, we can’t even go to the movies without the biggest, butteriest tub of popcorn money can buy.

Is it any wonder we glamorize food and our society is plagued by obesity and expanding waistlines when all we see is the glorification of that which has the potential to kill us?

Now to the personal part of this rant, I lost a great deal of weight a few years ago and was successful maintaining that loss by being conscientious of what I put in my mouth and taking the time and effort to get some exercise. It was good for my mind, good for my soul and good for my relationship with God. It was a good balance.

But then I lost focus of where true happiness comes from and slowly my health declined, my weight started inching back up and my relationship with Jesus was becoming more and more strained.

I kept having this vision of meeting Jesus with my mouth full of potato chips or Twinkies and it bothered me more than a little.

So I guess my point is taking our eyes and focus off Jesus and onto worldly matters is detrimental in ways that we might not think about. I know that the secret to weight loss and health won’t be found in any self-help books, I won’t find those answers there anymore than I will find the path to eternal life in any book except the Bible.

The secret to any trouble we are having lies in one place only, the truth of God’s word, the light of God’s love and the promise of God’s grace.

We really do make life more difficult for ourselves don’t we!

Dottie

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